Sunday, July 18: Thorns 2, Pride 1
The goals: Sophia Smith made a run out of the defensive half of the field and drilled a right-footed shot from 20 yards inside the right post (1-0 Thorns, 28th minute).
Marissa Everett scored with a snap header from seven yards at the end of a Meghan Klingenberg delivery (2-0 Thorns, 58th minute).
Marissa Viggiano scored with a left-rooted shot from 16 yards into the upper left corner after a ball from Abi Kim found Viggiano in space near the top of the penalty area (2-1 Thorns, 90+5).
What it means: Portland is 6-3-1 (19 points) and moves alone atop the National Women's Soccer League standings. Orlando is 4-3-4 (16 points) and tied for third place.
Takeaways: This was a strong performance from Portland, though it could have been put away by halftime. Smith's goal was fabulous, a perfectly-placed shot hit with pace after dribbling the ball 50 yards at speed. … Orlando keeper Ashlyn Harris (three saves) stopped a Rocky Rodriguez penalty kick in the 39th minute after Klingenberg was fouled in the penalty area and Smith missed wide on a breakaway just before halftime. … Portland had Orlando under pressure much of the evening, dominating in the midfield to the tune of 59% possession. The Thorns were credited with 14 chances, half of them created by outside backs Natalia Kuikka (four) and Klingenberg (three).
Everett's first goal of the season was a well-taken header and gave Portland breathing room. It was a nice reward for the former Oregon Duck, who has played well as an attacking midfielder while Christine Sinclair is away for the Olympics.
Attendance at the Thorns' second home match without restrictions was 14,985. Portland goalkeeper Bella Bixby was credited with two saves and set a NWSL regxular-season record for the longest shutout streak (269 minutes) to start a career before Viggiano scored with a perfect shot after a Portland defensive breakdown gave her time to shoot.
The match was physical. Referee Laura Rodriguez issued five caution cards, all in the second half, and called 30 fouls. There were several injury stoppages in each half, the most significant appeared to by a right leg injury to Portland's Morgan Weaver, who was sandwiched by two Pride players in a nasty collision late in the match. "Fingers crossed" that Weaver will be OK, Thorns coach Mark Parsons said, explaining that he (Weaver) was on crutches but he would know more about her status after X-rays on Monday.
Up next: Portland visits Houston on Saturday, July 24 at 5:30 p.m.
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